Te Araroa means “the long pathway” in Maori. Completed in 2011, it’s a 3,000-kilometer continuous trail extending from Cape Reinga on the North Island to Bluff on the South.

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If you don’t risk anything, you risk even more. – Erica Jong

I hadn’t the faintest idea if I possessed the grit, the fortitude and determination, and the sheer pig-headedness to stick with a walk of 1,864 miles.
Did I possess the grit, fortitude, determination, and the sheer pig-headedness to stick with a walk of 1,864 miles?
My Granite Gear Crown 60 is named Olive Oyl.
Followers named my superbly designed, lightweight but rugged Granite Gear pack, Olive Oyl.
La Sportiva Akyra blend the best of a trail runner with that of a hiking boot.
Breathable, flexible, wicking and lightweight, La Sportiva is running shoe meets hiking boot.
Set up is a snap for my ultralight and rugged tarptent, named the"alicoop" by followers.
My Leki poles keep me upright in 80 mph gusts.
I swear by foldable, bomb-proof Leki trekking poles to keep me upright.
At only three ounces, the Black Diamond Spot is a great little light with lots of functionality, if you can just remember how to turn it on and off.
The Black Diamond Spot is only 3 ounces with loads of functionality, but I can never remember the steps.
The "alicoop," a Tarptent Notch Li built for one.
In Silent-Film-style, the Blissful Hiker sets the "alicoop" and finally crawls in for a little shut eye.
The 26 poses are some of the most effective of all workouts, both energizing and therapeutic.
I love my work as a classical music radio host, but I wanted to see what a long distance thru-hike would do to my body, mind and spirit so asked for a leave.
I love being a DJ, but wanted to experience a thru-hike before it was too late.
Olive Oyl, my Granite Gear pack that carried my home, my life, everything I needed on the Te Araroa.
The Blissful Hiker's packed weight for 5 months on the Te Araroa is under 15 pounds.
I had 25 ounces at a rolling boil in about four minutes.
I had 25 ounces at a rolling boil on my 3 ounce stove in about 4 minutes.
What I lack in experience, I make up with enthusiasm.
What I lack in experience, I make up with enthusiasm.
The Hammock Gear quilt looks like a prop from "Invasion of the Body Snatchers."
A quilt opens beneath you and puts the down feathers on top. where you need them.
Taking my bike across town to Orchestra Hall, then a ten-mile ride back after the concert.
How do you get in shape for a long thru-hike? By being intentional in making fitness a part of life.
When in doubt, make a fool of yourself.
It's said that people fear public speaking - and looking ridiculous - more than death.
Walking is good for you.
Walking is good for you – and for the creative mind – as so many composers were fully aware of.
The great philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wants us to be wanderers, “though not as a traveler to a final destination: for this destination does not exist.”
If you arrive at a final destination, it’s a sign that you’ve set your sights too low.
The Blissful Hiker packs her ultralight gear for New Zealand.
The Blissful Hiker Alison Young packs ultralight gear to ready to go to New Zealand.
It’s less 'seize the day' at this point then let it happen and be present while it does.
In late October, I said goodbye and set off for the other side of the world.
Cape Reinga, the northernmost tip of New Zealand
After 3 flights, and 36 hours of travel, I start the hike, falling asleep to crashing waves at Twilight.
Rain passes through at Scott Point above Ninety Mile Beach, a relentless expanse of sand walked for three solid days.
Following the stairs down from Scott Point, the Blissful Hiker begins the Ninety Mile Beach.
Spirula or Ram's horn shell on Ninety Mile Beach.
Awakened by wild horses, the Blissful Hiker heads back onto the long, lonely Ninety Mile Beach.
After 36 hours of travel, I arrived in New Zealand and started hiking right away.
Blow Carting near Ahipara.
On the final day walking the Ninety Mile Beach, the wind changes and brings blow carts my way.
Tuis, bell birds, roots and mud – the deepest I've seen in my entire life – in the Raetea Forest.
There's nothing like putting wet and muddy shoes on in the morning.
The mud continues until the bush abruptly ends at rolling hills headed toward more bush.
Kauri bark has a hammer-mark texture and continuously sheds its outer bark in large scales to prevent climbing or perching plants from gaining a permanent hold.
A long walk through the Puketi forest takes me past manuka honey bees and a kauri forest.